Two Men Dare Dangerous Beehive Hunting for Livelihood 

Welcome to Vietnam Untold! Today, we have a fascinating story of two brave individuals who embark on a dangerous Beehive Hunting for livelihood. 

In the early hours of the morning, Mr. Phạm Văn Chiến and Mr. Lê Hoàng Đấy, from Quang Nam province, packed their protective gear and forestry tools and rode their motorcycles to a mountainous commune in Bắc Trà My district, more than 30 kilometers away, to hunt for beehives.

Upon arrival, they split up in different directions and were equipped with their protective gear and forestry tools. Then, they strategically positioned themselves in open areas to locate beehives before the midday sun obstructed visibility.

The type of bee they were hunting belong to the species Vespa affinis, known for their meat-eating habits and their preference for secluded areas with dense foliage and treacherous terrain to build their nests.

The nesting season for these hornets lasts from early May to September in the lunar calendar. The queen bee selects a suitable location at the beginning of the season, lays eggs, and nurtures them to establish a thriving colony. Once the young bees mature, they take on the responsibility of hunting for prey and constructing new hives.

Back at their homes, Mr. Chiến will hang bee nests in his garden, eliminating crop-harming pests. After nurturing the bees for over a month, he begins harvesting the larvae. The bee nests, consisting of multiple layers, are carefully harvested, leaving the topmost layer intact for the bees to continue their building efforts. Each bee nest can be harvested 2-3 times per season.

Apart from beekeeping, Mr. Chien also sells the nests to local residents in the area. The price ranges from $11 for large nests to $7 for smaller ones. Each nest yields a profit of approximately $17 after three months. Traders purchase the bee larvae for over $13 per kilogram, supplying them to restaurants and eateries where they are used in various dishes, including porridge, stir-fries, and deep-fried items.

Bee hunting can be dangerous, as these hornets possess a venom that is highly toxic. In recent times, there have been critical and even fatal incidents due to hornet stings. Doctors warn that the venom of Vespa affinis can cause anaphylactic shock, hemolysis, disrupted blood clotting, muscle damage, severe kidney injury, and more. Timely treatment is crucial, as victims are at great risk of losing their lives without proper medical attention.

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